WIAW #5 (February 22, 2012)

Hi there, happy Wednesday (and HAPPY BIRTHDAY JON)!

I thought I’d switch things up this week and show my meals from Monday. Since I am on the go literally all day, I thought it might be interesting to show a day of my packed meals/snacks on one of these days vs. the days when I am less busy. I also always love to see what people pack to eat (I love easy/healthy meals!), so I am hoping/assuming others feel the same?

Breakfast 7:00

On Monday I literally ate every meal away from home, which usually isn’t the case. I usually always eat breakfast at home. It is actually one of my favorite parts of the day, and I have a whole routine of reading blogs, watching the news, etc.  during this time. Breakfast is what gets me up in the morning (I brainstorm what I will make/eat pretty much as soon as my eyes open…).

On Sunday night though, I somehow set my alarm to the wrong time (1 hour late!) so I somehow magically woke up (thank god) with it with just enough time to get ready and pack myself something quick to eat for breakfast at work.

I ended up going with a pumpkin yogurt +oatmeal + peanut butter combo.

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 c plain greek yogurt (approx) with a spoonful of pumpkin mixed in – sweetened with a squirt of honey
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1/2 banana
  • small sprinkle of raisins

Snack 1: 10:00 am

Since I ate breakfast a bit later than usual, I wasn’t as hungry for my mid-morning snack. I just grabbed a handful of walnuts and almonds before I had to do some testing at work.

Lunch: 12:30

For lunch I packed myself a big salad that included every vegetable I could find in my fridge. I also added some kidney beans and veggie spiral pasta (I love adding pasta to salads!) for some staying power. I wasnt ‘expecting  much out of this salad, since it is one of my more normal combos, but, for some reason, this was SO good. I love eating big, delicious salads full of fresh veggies on Mondays to start the week off on the right foot. This creation contained:

  • spinach
  • broccoli
  • mushrooms
  • carrots
  • red kidney beans (about 1/2 cup)
  • Trader Joes veggie spiral pasta (about 1/2 cup)

I also especially liked my dressing choice of the day: Drew’s Rosemary Balsamic… It soaked into the broccoli and pasta really well and made everything very delicious.

To end things on the sweeter side, I had my daily apple (a Fugi… if you were curious) with lunch.

Snack 2: 3:00 pm

 Before leaving work  to head to class I was feeling a little hungry, so I snacked on 2 clementines and a small handful of almonds

Dinner: 5:00 pm

On Mondays and Wednesdays, I have Biology at 5:30, so I usually will eat my packed dinner around 5 in the student cafeteria/study area. On Monday, I was trying to get some studying done before class (I have my first Chem test on Friday), so I took a quick study break to eat dinner. I packed myself a whole wheat wrap that contained:

I also had some carrot sticks and sugar snap peas on the side.

Again, I didn’t think this would be anything special, but it ended up tasting soo good to me (maybe I was missing vegetables in my life over the weekend?). I love the wraps I have been buying (they are a whole wheat variety I buy at Costcos) – they are so doughy! – and the combo of black beans + hummus + nutritional yeast was especially delicious for some reason. I love mixing hummus and nutritional yeast together. It is such a cheesy/creamy combo.

Snack 3: 7:00 pm

After class I had a plan to go to the gym, so I snacked on a Honey Graham Clif Z bar on my ride there.

Dessert: 9:00 pm

And lastly, when I got home from the gym, showered, packed up all my things for Tuesday and settled in to watch the second hour of the Bachelor with a few friends, I decided I wanted something sweet to end the day. I ended up having some cottage cheese with chopped strawberries, raisins, and a few chopped walnuts sprinkled on top.

And that concludes a day of packed meals/meals-on-the-go.

I hope you have been enjoying some delicious food this week as well! I’m excited to go check out what other people have been eating and get some new ideas!

Easy (and healthy!) ways to get your V-day chocolate fix

Happy Valentine’s Day! Are you celebrating today?

While I know many people are hater’s of this particular holiday,  I am on the more neutral end of the spectrum. I, more times than not, have not had a “valentine” on Valentine’s day, but I  feel like the day should focus less on whether or not you are in a relationship and should be more about celebrating those that you love in general. I know when I was growing up my dad would always buy my sister’s and I mini Russel Stover chocolate boxes, and when I went to college,  my mom started a tradition of sending me an edible arrangement every year.  I never felt like I needed a valentine to take part in the day.

 The holiday doesn’t have to be bitter, it should be about celebrating love…. and having an excuse to eat chocolate all day, anyone with me?

Speaking of chocolate, does Valentine’s day make anyone else crave it like crazy (the big chocolate hearts in every supermarket and drugstore probably don’t help)? I feel like it is mandatory to eat something chocolately and delicious today. While I like to eat big pieces of chocolate cake, chocolate bars and heart-shaped boxes of candy as much as the next girl, I believe there are healthier ways to enjoy it as well. If done the right way, it is possible to enjoy “indulgent” treats all day and not end up feeling lethargic with a sugar coma.

To celebrate, I thought I’d suggest some healthy ways to incorporate some chocolately goodness into your life today.

Breakfast ideas:

  • Chocolate breakfast cookie – This was my breakfast of choice this morning…

I made mine with:

-1/2 c oats
-1 tbsp pb
-1 tbsp Hershey’s dark cocoa powder
-1/2 banana
-splash soy milk
-topped with: 2 chopped strawberries + strawberry jelly

1/2 c oatmeal with added cocoa powder (doesn't look appetizing but is SO good

  • Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal – Mama Pea has a delicious recipe for this that I recommend (which my sister made this morning….)

Snack Ideas:

  • Chocolate-inspired trail mix (mix chocolate chips with some almonds, dried cranberries, and cereal….)
  • Warm a Chocolate Brownie Clif Z bar or any type of chocolate/oat based granola bar in the microwave for 3o seconds for an instant cake-like snack

  • 1 tbsp of Nutella or Justin’s chocolate Hazelnut butter/Chocolate Almond Butter with a chopped apple

Dessert Ideas:

  • “Apple sundae” – chop an apple into bite size chunks and place into a mug or small bowl. Top with a a few tsp chocolate sauce and a sprinkle of granola/sprinkles/raisins/small spoonful pb (the options are endless)…. my sister and I used to do this all the time. It’s rather tasty.
  • Healthified “chocolate mousse” – Mix  plain greek yogurt or cottage cheese with a few tsp of cocoa powder and honey or some chocolate pudding mix (a trick I learned from Julie!). Add some mini chocolate chips and chopped strawberries on top to make it extra delicious.
  • “Chocolate-covered” strawberries – chop some strawberries and top with  a few tablespoons of chocolate sauce –  my friend Mary is a big fan of this one… so simple but so good

(source: http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2011/11/06/one-minute-chocolate-cake)

Annd if all else fails and you really want something decadent, make this chocolate mousse. I made some last night to have as a Valentine’s day dessert  for later and it is SO GOOD. It’s not exactly healthy, but there is always room for a little treat here and there, right? I won’t lie, I licked the mixing bowl clean… I can’t wait to have some later.

I hope you have a great day!

What are your favorite ways to incorporate chocolate into your life? Any healthy breakfast/snack ideas??

Things I’m Loving Right Now (Take 2)

In case you missed my first installment: Things I’m Loving Right Now (Part 1)

1.Clif Mojo bars (Mountain Mix flavor)

I usually don’t eat a lot of granola bars, but given my busier schedule these days, they have become quite a convenient snack. I was just talking about how much I enjoy the sweet/salty combo… and this flavor is the PERFECT mix. so.good.

  • salty = peanuts, almonds pretzels
  • sweet = raisins, cranberries, chocolate chips

2. Belting out Taylor in the car

Since starting night classes, I have a 20-30 minute commute to and from school every week, 3x a week (sometimes longer with traffic). I thought I would hate these drives, but I have actually been enjoying the extra thinking time and more so, the ability to belt out some Taylor Swift and dance like a complete  idiot in my car (thank god its dark outside when I drive home….). I have been especially liking Mean, Ours, and Mine (if you were curious).

3. My new Pilot G2 07 pens

I recently got an assorted pack of these pens and I love them. They make me want to write things down and take notes, and I swear they make me write neater. They are slightly gelly (I think I just made that word up?), but don’t bleed/smear like other gel-type pens I’ve tried. I hope I don’t sound like a loser for getting so excited over pens… but I can’t help it. When you do a lot of writing every day, a good pen is completely necessary.

4. Bethenny is getting her own talk show!

This is not exactly a “thing” I’ve been loving, but I had to share this. I just heard about it on Tuesday (from Twitter… which I am very new at and very confused about, by the way), and I am so excited. I am a HUGE Bethenny fan. I find her very inspiring and motivating, and I love how blunt/real she is. I also love Skinnygirl Margaritas, Bethenny Ever After, and I am a big supporter of Bethenny’s views on health/fitness/wellness in general (her book Naturally Thin is actually what initially got me interested in living a more healthy/balanced lifestyle).

I know a lot of people hate on Bethenny, but I am a big supporter and will always be a  fan.

I hear her show will be on FOX this summer and I.am.so.excited…. anyone else a Bethenny fan?

5. Kale

Well, I usually always am a big kale fan, but I recently bought it at the grocery store and have been enjoying it in many  lunches and dinners this past week. I have been loving it raw in salads and sandwiches, as well as steamed/sautéed in various stir-frys. Not only is it super cheap (I think its  .99 cents/lb. at my local grocery store which can get you A LOT of kale and, it’s SO light!), but it is so good for you! I always love it when foods that are good (as in delicious) are also good for me. It’s a win-win.

If you’ve never had it, I recommend making kale chips (tear the kale into pieces and bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes (approx.), flipping once). They are really addicting and especially good with ketchup.

Anything you’ve been loving recently?

Sweet + Salty Combinations

Hi everyone!

So when I packed my meals for school last Friday, I mentioned that I made myself a goat cheese and jelly sandwich for dinner. I just wanted to share that it was so good! I am thinking it was because:

  • I am a big fan of the sweet/salty combination
  •  It reminded me a lot of my favorite childhood breakfast (cream cheese and jelly on a plain bagel…try it if you never have. so good.).

Since I know I am a big fan of the particular combo of salty/savory + sweet (I love sea salt caramels and sea salt chocolate bars, trail mixes…), I started to brainstorm  more salty/sweet sandwich combinations.

So far I have thought of…

“salty” additions

  • cheese (goat, cream cheese, cheddar, provolone, etc.)
  • tempeh
  • beans
  • peanut butter/almond butter (?)

“sweet” additions

  • jelly
  • fresh fruit
  • honey/agave

Which led me to brainstorm these sandwich ideas:

  • goat cheese and jelly (cream cheese and jelly, etc.)….
  • tempeh/cheese and jelly (I’ve seen this combo on Kath and Meghann‘s blogs before but never tried it myself)
  • goat cheese, honey and strawberries (I may or may not be trying this out this week…)

annnd that’s all I’ve got so far. I know there has to be other options than  the “protein+ jelly” combo, but so far I’ve got nothing.   Beans would be an easy “salty” sandwich addition, but for some reason no “sweet” ingredient seems very fitting (beans + jelly? No thanks). Anyone have any ideas/suggestions?

Anyway, moving on to the food for the day (Meal packing day 3):

Lunch

For lunch I packed a spinach salad topped with carrots, zucchini, brown rice and a baked tofu/sweet potato/green bean mixture that my sister’s boyfriend brought over to our apartment (he is a pretty good cook, and I get to reap the benefits by getting to eat some of the food he brings my sister). I packed some balsamic vinegar to top it off and also plan to have a granny smith apple.

Breakdown:

1. brown rice (grain)

2. tofu (protein)

3. Spinach, carrots, zucchini, green beans, sweet potato (veggies)

Dinner

For dinner I have an “Italian-themed” sandwich that  includes meatless meatballs (from Trader Joes), hummus and spinach with some basil and oregano sprinkled on top. Kind of like a spin on a meatball sandwich/sub I suppose?

On the side I packed some veggies (peppers, carrots, celery) and a few clementines, which are not that great. I bought  “Cuties” at the store the other week and loved them, but my most recent Costco ones just don’t compare. Why are the “Cuties” better (anyone know what I am talking about)? It must be the cheesy commercials that win me over.

Breakdown:

1. whole grain bread (grains)

2. meatless meatballs, hummus (protein)

3. spinach, peppers, carrots, celery (veggies)

Snacks

My snacks of the day include

  • a trail mix that includes: cashews, apricots and Kashi Honey Sunshine cereal (this cereal used to be my favorite study snack in college, but I haven’t had it in so long)
  • an Iced Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Clif Z Bar –If you haven’t tried this flavor yet, DO IT. I just bought an entire box of them at Target yesterday and am pretty excited…
Everything together…

So that concludes my meals for the day! I am excited to try out my sandwich later, so this healthy/exciting meal packing plan is going well so far. Let’s just not take into account that I am excited to eat a sandwich at 8:00 in the morning…

I hope you have a great day!

Do you like the sweet/salty combo? Any sandwich suggestions?


An oatmeal transportation issue….

At work, every time we hire a new employee, we have a “welcome potluck” for him/her.  About a month ago, we had a new employee join our staff, so we had the official breakfast potluck for her this morning.

When the sign-up sheet was being passed around last week, there was a group consensus that we bring alternate options other than the “normal” breakfast foods like donuts and pastries. (I work with mostly women and the New Years resolutions are still in full swing…).

I, of course, was on board with this idea since I, first of all, don’t understand the concept of donuts for breakfast (a sugary baked good first thing in the morning is good in theory, but the sugar crash that accompanies it is not appreciated), and secondly, I know that there are so many other delicious breakfast foods out there to enjoy (yogurt, oatmeal, fruit, granola…)!

My first thought was to bring oatmeal in a crock pot (since our office has no kitchen… or windows) and bring fun mix-ins like peanut butter, dried fruit, bananas…(I think I have some kind of subconscious desire to show people how delicious oatmeal can be), but then I remembered:

1. It would be ridiculously heavy to transport

2 I ride a city bus to work… that is extremely crowded during morning rush hour

3. I am one of the clumsiest people alive and most likely should not be trusted with a crock pot full of oatmeal

So I had to come up with a Plan B.  Sticking with the oatmeal theme, I decided that oatmeal-based granola bars would be a close enough replacement and would also be a bit easier to transport. Plus, since granola bars usually have so many unnecessary ingredients and tend to be loaded with sugar, I thought this would stick with the healthy breakfast potluck theme quite nicely.

picture from original recipe

I ended up making these, after drooling over all of my options on Food Gawker (that site is SO addicting), and they turned out great! I followed the recipe exactly (I used pecans, walnuts, dried cranberries and dried apricots as my mix-ins), and was pleasantly surprised with how delicious they turned out to be.

If you are looking for an easy, delicious granola bar recipe, I highly recommend these.

Have a great Tuesday!